The Miss USA pageant was held last night in Las Vegas. The cheesier, cheaper version of the Miss America pageant has over the last decade both benefited and suffered by being paid for by the Trump brand, which added to the sense of the cheap nature of the proceedings, while also paying for it. But this past year, with Trump’s horrendous Maniacal Cartoon Villain act only getting worse, Miss USA did something that apparently has only benefitted them–they cut themselves loose from Trump. If only the GOP could do the same. The resulting goodwill bump in press from this act means that the pageant is getting a bit more coverage this morning than it might have otherwise.
Due to that coverage, I found myself looking through the 52 gowns on display by the states involved. (50 states, the District of Columbia and, I kid you not, “Miss 52”, the “people’s choice” pageant candidate.) Though this is not red carpet material, and these women are not a list stars, this parade of gowns is interesting as a document of what our culture considers the height of fashion in 2016.
The first time I saw a Miss USA pageant it was 1989, and the hair was teased to the rafters, and the gowns were hard shells in a rainbow of bright colors, all head to toe rhinestones and enormous pouffed sleeves. In contrast, in 2016, we have a parade of gowns all of which are soft–even the columns, like Miss DC’s above, do not look heavy or stiff in the slightest. Several would not look out of place in a fairy tale romance.
And then of course, there are the capes, the trains and the half trains that look like peplums that were allowed to grow until they reached the floor (again, see above.) as a record of what women thought was the height of beauty fashion in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, we have gathered the gowns below (in alphabetical order by state) for your perusal.